Sunday, October 23, 2011

Life is Not a Sitcom

On the TeeVee, people insult each other and the audience laughs.  In real life, this often backfires.

You can tell if someone watches a lot of TeeVee, particularly sitcoms, as they tend to engage in a lot of "insult humor."   If you don't watch TeeVee a lot, this may take you aback at first, as you think, "What is wrong with this asshole?  Why does he keep insulting me?"

Then you see the 70-inch jumbotron in his living room and it all comes together.   He spends his life on the couch watching sitcoms, and he really thinks that is what "real life" is like.  Every day is another episode of "Friends" or "Seinfeld" - or worse, reality TeeVee.

Reality television, which of course is not real, thrives on acrimony, argument, and petty dispute.  Every show of the genre, from Storage Wars, to Survivor, or the Chopper or Hot Rod shows, all thrive on disputes among the actors, not the nominal subject matter of the show.  So, for example, in Storage Wars, out of a 30-minute "show" (of which less than 15 minutes is actual programming), more than half of the program is about people talking trash to one another.  Less than a few minutes is devoted to seeing all the crapola that people put in their storage lockers, or the rare finds that people make.

This ends up having a corrosive effect on  our society, as people start to think that arguing all the time is the norm - as is plotting against your neighbors and friends.  Calling people names is "funny" the TeeVee tells us.  But it ain't.  These are normative cues of the worst sort, and the only thing you can do is stop watching this shit.

The problem television creates for the rest of us is that it programs the plebes into annoying people who one can barely tolerate.  You go to a cocktail party and try to talk to someone, and if they are a sitcom person, all they can do is engage in insult humor and sexual innuendo.  If they are a news show junky, all they can talk about is politics.  And if they are a reality show person, all they can talk about is you  - behind your back, of course.

Television has gotten a lot worse over the years - you're not imaging this.  People wonder why our society has become less and less civil and more and more violent.   The answer, I think, is the TeeVee, where we are encouraged to view others as mere wallpaper in our lives - and to call anyone who disagrees with our political viewpoints, the worst sort of names.

Just turn this drivel OFF!